THE POST-MORTEM report of the eight SIMI activists who were gunned down by Madhya Pradesh police in an encounter on the outskirts of Bhopal on Monday suggests that a majority of the bullet wounds were found above the waist. The report, however, does not specify whether the bullets were fired from a distance or close range.
Police received the preliminary autopsy report Tuesday amid questions over the official version of the events leading to the encounter, particularly after a series of video clips purportedly showed policemen firing at bodies on the ground at the site of the killing.
The report is yet to be made public, but police sources said there were multiple wounds on each body. The report said that bullets were recovered from four bodies and were found to have passed through the other four. When contacted, Dr Ashok Sharma, director and head of the state forensic department, said he cannot comment on the report since he was “busy in a meeting”.
Dr D K Satpathy, former director of Medico Legal Institute, a government body that functions in the Government Medical College, Bhopal, told The Indian Express that recovery or non-recovery of bullets does not necessarily throw light on the distance from which they were fired.
“Bullets fired from a distance, too, can pass thorough the body if they don’t encounter bones,’’ he said. Clothes worn by the activists have been sent for further forensic examination, sources said. One operative was shot in the head, while the entry points of some wounds suggest they were shot from behind, sources said.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan felicitated the police officers involved in the “shootout and search operation”. According to police, the eight SIMI activists escaped around 3 am on Monday from the Central Jail in Bhopal after killing a head constable by slitting his throat using spoons and steel plates, and tying up another guard before crossing a wall using a rope made of bedsheets.
Hours later, the police said, all eight were killed in an encounter in a forested area over 15 km from the prison premises.